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Lovely things

BY LISA JONES TOWNSEL
Photos by Laetitia Patezour of Tres Jolie Photo

May 2014

Sisters Adriana Mehta (left) and Gabriela Grbic

Adriana Mehta and Gabriela Grbic have become accustomed to doing things together. The fraternal twins that were born in Germany and reared in Spain and Mexico, both studied fashion design and marketing in college and crisscrossed the globe to be with the husbands of their dreams in suburban Milwaukee. "Our parents pushed our individuality but also encouraged us to work together to make a statement," Mehta says.

That philosophy led the creative duo to capitalize one of their greatest joint passions: making beautiful things. In 2010, they started Canela-Canela, an edgy line of jewelry that features fashion-forward cuffs, earrings, handbags and bracelets.

The sisters themselves are dainty, sweet and demure. But their pieces are big, bold works of art that demand attention and promise to set any outfit aglow. Their jewels combine soft leathers, brilliant metals and weighty minerals to create looks that are rock star-hot.

"We wanted to share our passion for the beautiful, bohemian chic pieces that we adore," Mehta explains.

And, at every stage of the design process, the collection never reflects just one sisterís vision; "itís always a collaboration," Grbic insists.

Their goal was simply to make items that exude strength and vitality and that allow women to "explore their wild side." These 38-year-old wives and mothers (both have two children) accomplished that and some with inspirational pieces that range from vibrant-colored rock bracelets with fringe tassels to their funky chunky leather cuffs festooned with vintage pendants, dazzling minerals, or both.

While they call their jewelry "exotic" and "bohemian chic," it is not pretentious. Both women say Canela pieces are perfectly suited to be dressed up for evenings out or to romp about in sweatpants. Prices can range from $45 for small stone bead bracelets to upward of $300 for fringed leather clutch bags.

(The two also sell wares from their home studios in Mequon; select items are available at the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee.)

The sisters chose the name Canela-Canela, because canela means cinnamon or lovely things in Spanish, and it represented the warmth and excitement that captured their joint cross-cultural journey and experiences.

Thrilled about the buzz surrounding their creations, the Mequon fashionistas continue to focus on inspiring their growing clientele. "I hope that when someone gets to have a Canela piece that it reminds them how strong they really are," Mehta says.

Her sister agrees. "If we can just make someone see their inner strength," Grbic adds, "it will all be worth it."

Find Canela-Canela products online by going to etsy.com and searching for canelashop. Home studio visits are by appointment.


 

 


This story ran in the May 2014 issue of: